More than 5.25 lakh hectares of croplands have been under irrigation in the country's northwest region during last 2018-19 fiscal contributing a lot to ensuring food security through boosting the farming yields.
The huge croplands were brought under irrigation facilities through operating 15,517 power-driven deep tube wells (DTWs), 519 low lift pumps and 106 solar irrigation systems in almost round the year in all 16 districts under Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions.
Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA), the ever largest irrigation-providing state-run organisation in the region, has arranged the facilities yielding a significant success in crop production.
Engineer Abdur Rashid, Executive Director of BMDA, revealed this while addressing a press briefing related to its development, problems, prospects and overall achievements at his office conference hall here yesterday afternoon.
BMDA Chairman Dr Akram Hossain Chowdhury addressed the briefing as chief guest while Superintending Engineers Shamsul Huda and Dr Abul Kashem, among others, were present.
Till last June, the BMDA activated 4,332 inoperative deep tube-wells, installed 525 low lift pumps, re-excavated 2006-kilometer canal and 3098 derelict ponds, constructed and expanded 13454-kilometer water distribution infrastructures alongside 1579 drinking water supply installations and 301 dug wells and 749 cross-dams, which ensured a sound irrigation system.
Around 16,000 people are getting safe drinking water from 420 dug-wells in some of the drought-prone high Barind tract where the existing shallow and deep tube-wells water technologies are yet to be reached due to various reasons.
He added that the region scored significant progress in the crop production sector following the expansion of irrigation facilities along with supplying water from the re-excavated canals and ponds. In addition to imparting training to 1,47,243 farmers, around 2.57 crore saplings of various fruit, timber and herbal trees were planted in the command area to protect the environment and meet the growing demands for fruits and timber in the region.
Around 1,080 kilometres underground irrigation pipelines were constructed aims at reducing the loss of irrigation water by around 40 percent in Barind area.
Around 57.57 percent area of the total cultivable land of the region has, so far, been brought under the irrigation facilities.
"We have a plan of elevating the surface water-based irrigation to 30 percent from the existing ten percent by 2030 in order to lessening the gradually mounting pressure on underground water," Engineer Rashid said.
Additional 68.90 lakh tonnes of food grains including 24.48 lakh tonnes additional are supposed to be produced in the region if the rest 5.83 lakh hectares of non-irrigated cultivable land were brought under irrigation, he added.